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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Side Hustles Can Jump Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Written By: Kim Rowley | Comments Off on Side Hustles Can Jump Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey

You have dreams of being an entrepreneur but aren’t sure where to start. Side hustles are a great way to start a new business, test out a new business or simply supplement your current professional endeavors.

The  “gig” economy is growing and the number of people with a side hustle is in the millions and continuing to rise.

Here are 28 side hustle ideas that have little or no investment costs involved, so you can start earning money immediately.

  1. Affiliate Marketing – This is a lot of work, but you can do it on your own time. The basics involve creating a website and having content that includes links to products. If someone buys a product or service from your links, the company pays you a commission. It’s a little more involved, but when executed correctly those commissions can add up.
  2. AirBNB – If you have an extra bedroom in your house, you can make money renting out your guest room! You not only will make money, but you’ll also get to meet new people from different states or possibly different countries.
  3. Amazon – People can make money from Amazon several different ways including selling on Amazon. It’s called FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) and you sell products on Amazon’s marketplace and make money doing so.
  4. Blogging – For me, blogging goes hand in hand with affiliate marketing. But you can also make money with sponsored posts and by selling ad space on your blog.
  5. Car Rental – People can rent your car by the day on Turo.com. Buyers prefer this option as it’s less expensive than using a car rental service. Or if you have a unique or sports car, someone may just want to rent it for the experience.
  6. Caregiver – If you are willing to provide care for a special needs person or senior citizen, Care.com will match you with clients to care for in your
  7. Consulting – Do you have knowledge in a certain area? Get paid to teach others about that knowledge. Feel out your friends first to see if there is a demand. For example, you could post on Facebook something like, “Is anyone interested in learning more about ABC123? If so, what would you be willing to pay to learn about such?”
  8. Data Entry – Entering numbers and verifying links may be boring work to some, but it also puts food on the table for many. Big well-known companies, such as Xerox and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk pay for data entry/verification agents.
  9. Drawing – Are you a wanna-be artist? Upload your works of art to such sites as Cafepress and Teespring and sell your designs on tshirts, mugs, cell phone cases and more.
  10. Driving – Lyft and Uber allow you to basically be a taxi driver with your own car on your own schedule. You can make the most money with your car during “surge pricing”, which is usually when weekend nights when the bars close or after special events, such as concerts and sporting events. Don’t want people in your car? UberEATS pays you to deliver food and packages for local businesses.
  11. eBay – You can sell almost anything on Ebay, and chances are you have stuff laying around in your basement that you no longer need or want, but someone else may. Make some extra cash while cleaning out those storage shelves!
  12. Etsy – Etsy originally started as a place for people to sell handmade items, but it has grown to become a place to sell almost anything. While you’re listing your items for sale on Ebay, add them to Etsy, too (but don’t forget to take your listing down if you sell on one instead of the other).
  13. Fiverr – Fiverr was originally a place to buy and sell digital services for $5 each, but now you can set your prices and upsell in multiples of $5. I have made made nearly $5000 selling marketing placements on Fiverr.
  14. Freelancing – Offer your skills, such as web development and consulting, to help others grow your business. Websites such as Upwork connect businesses to freelancers where you can charge per hour or job. 
  15. Ghost Writing – If you have a passion for writing and don’t mind getting not getting credit for your work, other authors will pay you to pass off your work as their own. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. I have paid ghost writers to write articles for me when I’m short on time or don’t have any knowledge on the subject.
  16. Mystery Shopping – You can make money being a mystery shopper by providing feedback to companies. Mystery shopping evaluations don’t pay much, but they do reimburse you for expenses (i.e. food bought, oil changes), so saving on those expenses adds up.
  17. Pet Sitting – If you have a love for animals (I don’t), you can get paid to care for others pets. Sign up to be a pet sitter or dog walker at Care.com or Rover.com.
  18. Postmates – Earn up to $25 per hour plus tips delivering goods and food in major cities. You can walk, bike or drive to do your deliveries.
  19. RentaFriend – Are you social? Get paid to be a friend! There are people looking to “rent a friend” for all kinds of activities, from showing them around a new town, keeping a disabled or senior company, be a wedding date or simply hang out.
  20. Surveys – Get paid to take online surveys. Legitimate survey sites will pay you for answering questions about your lifestyle and preferences.
  21. TaskRabbit – Become a tasker to help people get things done around their house, such as mounting a TV or mirror, put together furniture or lift and move heavy furniture.
  22. Teach – You don’t have to be a teacher or have a degree to share your knowledge. Create an online course about any subject and make money at such sites as Invanto, Teachable and Thinkific. If you do have a Bachelor’s degree (any field), you can earn up to $22/hr teaching English online at SayABC.
  23. Transcription – This is where you listen to audio files, usually dictated from doctors or lawyers, and type out what you hear. Most transcription companies pay per page or per audio hour, which is not the same as a regular hour, as it may take you longer than one hour to transcribe one hour of audio.
  24. Translation – If you are bilingual, you can get paid to translate live conversations for court cases and medical facilities via video-conferencing. Or you can translate documents and articles, normally getting paid per word, from sites like Gengo and Transperfect.
  25. Tutor – Wyzant connects tutors with students looking for 1-to-1 instruction on the subject you are knowledgeable about (in person or online).
  26. Virtual Assistant (VA) – A VA is an independent contractor who provides support administrative, creative and/or technical services from a remote location. A VA is usually less expensive for a business to outsource the work to than to hire an employee.
  27. Website Tester – Earn $10 per test at such sites as Try My UI and UserTesting.com. To get paid, you visit a website or an app, complete a set of tasks, and speak your thoughts.
  28. Writer – Get paid to write articles, blog posts and ebooks. Writing-jobs.net connects freelance writers with partners who pay up to $30-$120 per hour. Or try your hand at self-publishing, like I did with my first ebook.

Just remember that you need to treat any side hustle as a business – even if it’s just part-time. Having clearly defined goals, carefully tracking financials and being professional can ensure that your gig is a successful venture.

Article written by
Kim Rowley has been in the affiliate marketing space since 1998 and is the founder of Key Internet Marketing, Inc. What originally began with a hobby of a coupon code site has grown into a multitude of websites and niche blogs. Her expertise in performance-based marketing has been expanded to consulting with merchants, businesses and publishers on affiliate management options as well. Kim is also an Adjunct Professor for the University of San Francisco teaching Advanced Affiliate Marketing Techniques.